NB:  I am fervently pro-choice.  I want abortion to be safe and legal, I want laws to that effect in all 50 states and federally, and I would absolutely support a constitutional amendment explicitly recognizing the right of bodily autonomy.  Read on at your own risk.

A few nights ago I wound up inadvertently pissing a lot of my friends off by ruminating a bit on how technology might render any law prohibiting abortion irrelevant.  Admittedly I was pretty short in my posting and a bit flippant in my tone, and so I was basically accused of wanting to bring back coat hangers.  They were also pissed when I drew equivalencies between the right to bear arms and the right to an abortion.

However, after spending considerable time reading and writing about the leaked Supreme Court decision, I think the ideas are worth expanding on, and writing about more seriously.  So…

One of the biggest ongoing debates in the libertarian movement has always been how do we get from here-a very statist and imperfect world-to there, a world of individual liberty and free, autonomous individuals voluntarily interacting with each other.  Usually the ideas fall into three main camps:  working through the political system (aka the Libertarian Party, or co-opting one of the majors), armed revolt or waiting for things to collapse on their own (what I tend to call the “nihilist libertarian” school of thought), and building competing institutions, such as private education, private security or arbitration firms, alternative currency etc.  Related to this debate is how much defiance of bad law is morally acceptable and practical-civil disobedience in the now, not just in the 1950s and 60s.  History does seem to show that laws that are unenforceable eventually change.  Laws that are resisted change as well.  Prohibition is the classic example, but so too the Jim Crow laws that mandated segregation.  The draft during the Vietnam era.  Laws prohibiting pornography, or dissemination of birth control information.  All of these eventually fell because people refused to comply with them, often actively resisted them, and eventually the law had no choice but to catch up.

What about today?  Let’s start with guns.  There were homebrew guns long before 3d printers (Philip Luty wrote one of the other famous banned books, for example), but 3d printing technology has definitely accelerated the process.  In 2013, the Liberator .380 was a single shot pistol that fell apart after 8-10 shots.  Less than 10 years later the FGC-9 has survived hundreds and even thousands of rounds, and NaviGoBoom’s Amigo Grande has pushed 3d printed weapons into rifle calibers.  Despite the best efforts of gun grabbers, technology may soon render any firearm law irrelevant and push firearms construction and ownership well outside the reach of the state.  The right to bear arms may well wind up guaranteed by entrepreneurs and hackers rather than laws, even if both is ideal.

What about abortion though?  What’s the connection with guns?  The first is a simple question of natural rights.  For those of us that are pro-choice (and I understand that not everyone is), the right to abortion is about bodily autonomy.  Even if you’re pro-life I don’t think the idea of bodily autonomy as a natural right should be in question, contra Alito and company.  You either own yourself or you don’t-and the right of self defense, the right to bear arms is how you guarantee the right of bodily autonomy.  Much as with the other natural rights, it is the insurance policy, and the last check and balance. 

While armed protests, like jury and state nullification, absolutely have a mixed record in history, they have been used to be positive ends.  The penny auctions of the 1930s and the armed aspects of the civil rights movement, along with the Black Panthers immediately come to mind.  The fact that the Portland protests, which while they didn’t have guns, but did feature a lot more fighting back, were able to keep the cops bottled up and effectively useless for weeks.  Why not have armed supporters standing, Black Panther style, outside of abortion clinics to guard patients and staff?  Lefties, if you believe in bodily autonomy then it’s worth defending-not just with words, but with force.  And if the Supreme Court gets guns as right as they got abortion wrong, which is likely, then suddenly that’s going to be much more possible. 

There’s also another possible connection.  In addition to being a small scale pundit, I’m also a geek, and as such I think a lot about the future, and what could come to pass.  3D printed guns represent a decentralization of technology, as well as a resulting decentralization of power.  Similar efforts have been underway for a long time, in computing (such as Linux and just assembling one’s own system), in farming, especially the urban farming movement, and even in other industries as people rediscover old skills and the joy or necessity of making one’s own stuff. 

Medical technology has also been starting to decentralize over the past 20ish years as well.

Obviously since things are much more complicated the pace has been a lot slower. But you’ve seen groups like the 4 Thieves Vinegar Collective emerge. Genome@home and Folding@home have used distributed computing to help with genetics research.  3D printing has made some inroads in prosthetics and other medical devices.  Which leads to the question that, admittedly sans enough surrounding context, greatly bothered many of my friends:  we’ve had abortion recipes going back to the ancient Greeks (and Ben Franklin!).  Even before Roe v. Wade abortion was widely available, whether legally or illegally, especially if you had money.  Given this fact and technological trends, I wonder if enterprising young biohackers will figure out and publish how to make medical grade recipes, or how to 3d print an easy and safe abortion device that will make any laws moot. Can the medical equivalent of Defense Distributed or the gatalog be made?  And if so, why not envision a world where abortion becomes a truly private decision, not because of the return of the coat hanger, but because what can be done at home is just as safe and effective as any Planned Parenthood visit?

Let me once again be 100% clear:  a world that requires armed protestors at abortion clinics, or diy solutions that hide from the state is NOT my first choice.  Women and trans folk with uteri already face a difficult enough decision when considering an abortion, they sure as hell shouldn’t have the state bearing down on them as well  Abortion should be safe and legal as a function of respecting bodily autonomy, and I believe that we should continue fighting through the political process to make sure that continues.  BUT…a world where the edicts of the state didn’t matter because the private citizenry had found a way around them, more or less guaranteeing access for anyone that needed the service…it’s a poor second choice, but it does seem to be the next best thing.  And history has shown that people, over time, are often remarkably good about getting around bad ideas, especially bad ideas turned into bad laws.


Right on schedule, Trump actually went.  I’m at least a little surprised.  So now that it’s actually over, let’s look back a bit at the Trump regime, and then take a look at what’s to come.

I will give credit where credit is due. Much as Obama had 3 1/2 good things in his 8 years (rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, having the DOJ prosecute corrupt cops, and being around when the Supreme Court handed down Obergfell), Trump had, by my reckoning, 1 and 2 small fractions good things. The tax code is slightly simpler for a lot of people. There was a bit of rapprochement with North Korea. And, though it probably pained him to tell the truth about something as much as it pains me to admit it, Trump was more or less right when he said he started no new wars. This makes him the first US president since Warren G. Harding not to do so-and before that it was Grover Cleveland.

And the fact that this is actually a major, not-in-a-century accomplishment says a lot about just how far we’ve fallen.

Now let’s look at the awful. While not a completely comprehensive list, some of the especially egregious lowlights include, in no particular order…

Worst president ever? Eh. As I’ve said before, we still have Wilson and Jackson in our history, so maybe not. But Donald J. Trump, you were still complete shit who did a lot of things that ranged from awful to outright evil. You will not be missed, please let the door hit you upside the head on your way out, and I hope against hope that you were the one that was finally egregious enough to convince a Senate or a jury to convict your sorry ass and set a precedent of accountability for all of your successors.
@#^! you, and good @#6!ing riddance.

So with Trump actually out of the way, how about the new boss?  I hope I’m wrong about Biden. I hope he decides not to be a warmongering jackass with a cop sidekick. I hope his immigration proposal goes through. I hope he backs off/forgets about/gives it up in exchange for money to prosecute corrupt cops/is defeated in court his gun control plan. I hope he ends the trade war. I hope he ends the drug war. I hope having a president that only votes for racist legislation and says racist things on occasion improves things over someone who signs racist legislation and says racist things every day. I hope he magically decides to tear down the insane system of subsidies, bailouts, and other corporate welfare that strangles our populace. I hope that talking to other countries in complete sentences again might increase the chance of peace in the world and reduce the US’s elected class’ appetite for war. I hope that maybe someone will be able to sneak pardons for the most important whistleblowers of our age past him. I hope that someone around him will say something to the effect of “Hey! 27 trillion in debt is kind of a bad idea!”.

I had similar hopes for Obama too. But much like Obama’s record made me very skeptical about the reality to come (and I was essentially 100% right), Biden’s record does not inspire.

Sure, @#^! Trump, I’m glad he’s gone, and I’m glad peaceful transfer of power is still a thing around here. But expecting much different from Biden where it counts? I’m not holding my breath.

Wow.  It’s the end of my first calendar year writing here at Flawed Jewel.  Something I’ve been meaning to do for at least a decade has finally come to life.  In about 5 months of doing this I’ve written 17 full essays and a couple of minor posts, and gone from zero to over 1200 followers on twitter.  Rookie numbers, almost certainly, but not a terrible start for someone writing part time with no actual name recognition.

This year was, in many ways, a terrible one for liberty.  Police murdering people in very public ways all year.  Federal troops used against protestors.  Corporate welfare out the ass.  Continuation of awful wars, and footing the bill for other peoples’ awful wars.  98% of the country voting for one of two bastards rather than one of the good candidates on the ballot.  A virus that made people on both sides act like complete idiots, and where both the disease and the response caused vast amounts of destruction.  Ever escalating national debt.  Protectionism.  Rumblings about repealing important protections of free speech.   Racist bullshit.  Transphobic bullshit.  The usual assault on the right to keep and bear arms.  The drug war is still a thing.  A small but obnoxious contingent of former libertarian stalwarts decided to support Trump, for some reason.  Impeachment was tried for the weaker of possible reasons, and failed.

It’s easy to be depressed about all of that.  All of that is real, and depressing.  But there were bright spots too.  There was massive resistance to police murder.  There were people all over the country that finally fought back, and gods bless the commies with cardboard, umbrellas, and hockey sticks.  A DA was elected in LA on the explicit promise to, and I quote, “end the racist drug war”.  The Libertarian Party picked up 2 state representatives and a bunch of local offices, and ran its best presidential ticket in a decade and a half.  The drug war lost BIG at the state level across the country.  Economic liberty made real gains at the ballot in places like California (I know, right?).  3D printed guns made major advancements.  Bitcoin and other crypto currencies soared in value as more people finally put money in them.  The liberty movement itself, for all its infighting and crankiness, picked up a lot of new members, reinvigorated many of its old guard, and went to places that it had never existed before, let alone been received positively.  And maybe, just maybe, people are listening about making 2021 the year of libertarians rather than waiting for the next presidential cycle.

And for me personally I finally got back into things after a decade away, and a lot longer of planning on doing this but never actually doing anything about it.  The result has been that I met a lot of wonderful people, both online and in person, I’ve learned a lot more, I’ve examined my beliefs and tried to understand them and the beliefs of others better, and dare I say I’ve even had fun doing it.  For the tens of people that actually read this, thank you.  For the people that follow me on twitter, thank you.  For those of you that get up every day and try to make the world a better, freer place, thank you.  And for everyone who survived 2020, thank you.  You made it. 

The clock turning to January 1, 2021 is not a magic panacea.  There is still so much to be done, so much to rebuild and so much to build anew.  There are bastards to be fought at every turn.  But as Neil Gaiman says, the point of fairytales isn’t to show that dragons exist.  It’s to show that dragons can be beaten.

2021.  Let’s go slay some dragons.


In Liberty,


Trump just signed a massive, damn near 5600 page bil, which among MANY, MANY other things includes a $600 second covid relief check.

While normally I would be automatically opposed to any cash handout from the government to anyone, my feelings are more complicated here.  Anti-lockdown folks would say that given that the government ordered shutdowns that wrecked small businesses and decimated entire sectors of the economy, this is a glaring example of the government breaking your legs and then selling you crutches, all while telling you to be grateful for the beneficence…and they would be right.  And yes, some kind of UBI nonsense or stay at home payments is just more bad government on top of more bad government.  Some libertarians would point out that that stimulus is a refund of money that was stolen from you…which is also correct.  Yet others might counter that given the insane amount of money printing that that $600 will cost a fortune in interest, and therefore in future taxes…which is yet again correct.  People on many chunks of the Nolan chart would tell you that $600 is a bullshit amount…and they would also be right.  I would say that while the virus is natural, the whole covid mess was caused by an absolute crisis of leadership at the beginning…and I’d like to think I’m right.  But…we are here, and while I think the ship could be righted by doing what we should have done in the first place, ie have the government acknowledge the reality of the disease, set a good example, stay out of creating yet another liability cap, and otherwise let people live their bleeping lives, in the meantime we are still in a government mandated lockdown.  There’s no good answer here.  I think it’s like marriage licenses-the government should have nothing to do with them in the first place, but as long as they do they need to treat everyone equally before the law.  Here?  Ideally the government would get the hell out of everyone’s way, but as long as as they’re making a mess they should do something to make the people they’re screwing over whole, right?  If someone’s got a better way to cut this particular Gordian knot I’m all ears (or eyeballs, as it were).

What I can tell you though is that bundling this issue inside of an insanely large omnibus bill that includes billions in foreign aid, corporate welfare, military spending, and making streaming copyrighted content a felony is COMPLETE bullshit.

For libertarians there’s plenty to hate about giant corporations.  The insane amount of subsidies they often receive.  Bailouts (and these).  Sweetheart government contracts.  The horrible connection between the military and oil.  The way they often get the US military to do their bidding (dramatic reading).  See also this, this, and this, among others.  Often despicable labor practices (and yes, I know that grinding urban poverty is often the first step out of even worse grinding rural poverty, but when you don’t pay people what they owe on a massive scale, or you hold them prisoner and threaten them with deportation or other terrors, you suck).  The way they’re often exempted from any accountability for the environmental damage they cause.  All of these are real things that happen, they’re concerns we tend to share with the left, and they’re terrible.  However, having the government break up corporations because they supposedly get too big?  That’s just dumb.  And the current antitrust investigation of facebook, which may result in facebook being partially broken up is part of a long tradition of dumb. 

The idea that corporations will tend towards absolute control of a market absent government regulation is natural monopoly theory, and it’s a common complaint amongst the left about corporate power…except in a free or relatively free market it doesn’t hold up to history.  While perhaps this could be dismissed as a bit of “one data point and you’re jumping for joy”, I think two of the largest examples in the public eye illustrate the point nicely.

The classic example is the classic monopoly, Standard Oil.  At the height of its power in 1904 Standard Oil had about a 90% market share, but when it was broken up just 7 years later it was down to about 64% market share-still big, still powerful, but a company in decline.  It was in decline because competitors were figuring out how to beat them at their own game, and it was before major oil subsidies took over.  Likewise, the biggest example of my lifetime so far is the the Microsoft antitrust suit of 1992 to 2001. Now…Microsoft as a company was no saint, and there were plenty of criminal and civil charges that could have been brought about their conduct with Stac Electronics, the crap that went down with them and IBM, and more.  But monopoly? Why? There was basically a decade of investigation, from 1992 to 2001, during which Apple revitalized, Blackberry and later Android came on the scene, Linux was developed, and any number of other things happened that ate a lot of the market share of Windows.

Now let’s look at facebook.  Facebook is a giant, an absolute titan of tech, to be sure.  A LOT of people use its services, at no out of pocket cost to them.  It buys up potential rivals regularly and locks them out of its platform.  There’s concerns (vastly overblown to my mind, but that’s a separate post) about the role it played in the most recent election.  It is arguably at the absolute zenith of its power.

We’ll put aside for the moment the really obvious fact, which is that facebook charges its users nothing unless they buy advertising, in exchange for the use of their data, and pretty much everyone agrees to this contract.

And yet, like myspace before it, like Microsoft, like Standard Oil, like IBM, like buggy whip and typewriter manufacturers before them, they’ve made missteps as of late.  While many decry them as safe spaces for racist snowflakes (and probably not without reason), parler and mewe are exploding.  Specialized discussion forums are still very much a thing.  Bitchute has become an alternate content hosting site.  The market continues to respond faster than the state ever could.

The only companies that survive are either those that figure out how to compete and innovate and keep giving people what they want, or those that keep getting bailouts from your wallet. In a libertarian world, only the first would survive.

If you want to hate amazon for their CIA contracts, fine.  If you want to hate car companies for getting bailed out by the government when they weren’t make things people wanted, fine.  If you want to hate  any number of companies (and the California department of corrections) for slave labor, I’m with you.  But if you want to hate them simply for getting too big by giving people what they want, I suggest you calm down, read a bit of history, and let the market do its job.